In a small-town Kansas,the body of Harvey Merrick, a famed sculptor, is brought back to his parent's house. Only Jim Laird, Harvey's old friend, and Henry Steavens, his student have any real emotion. While the mother cries out in overdone and insincere grief, Steavens and Laird remark on Harvey's harsh upbringing, and the wonder that he ever made it out of the town. Later, the mother yells at her maid for forgetting to do the salad dressing, displaying the mother's absolute cruelty and the falsity of her grieving. Before the funeral, the townspeople make fun of Harvey for his education and eastern lifestyle. Laird then lashes out at them, exposing the corruption of their ideals, along with practises of usury, gambling, shootings and so forth. Only Harvey escaped the corruption, and he was hated for it. The next day, Laird is too drunk to attend the funeral and Steavens returns East.